April 18, 2008

Is This Really News? [2:18 pm]

Or is this just an excuse for the Times to wallow in the mud with everyone else who’s fixated on Tricia Walsh Smith’s video? When the Ex Blogs, the Dirtiest Laundry Is Aired

[I]n an era when more than one in 10 adult Internet users in the United States have blogs, according to the Pew Internet and American Life Project, many people are using the Web to tell their side of a marital saga. Despite the legal end of a marriage, the confessions can stretch toward eternity in a steady stream of enraged or despondent postings.

In separation, of course, one person’s truth can be another’s lie. Often the postings are furtive. But even when the ex-spouse is well aware that he or she is starring in a blog and sues to stop it, recent rulings in New York and Vermont have showed the courts reluctant to intervene.

For the blogger, the writing can be therapeutic.

Well, yeah, but so what? The only real point to me is this bit, which is already part of the “presumption of privacy in plain sight” issue of internet posting:

There will certainly be consequences down the line of all this sharing. “The long-term impact of the persistent information on line has not been fully felt,” [Pew researcher Mary] Madden said.

“People tend to think that they are blogging for a small group of friends or that they are anonymous,” she said. But that is not really the case, she said, because “all it takes is one friend posting a link to your blog to out you.”

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Saving the Record Store [11:31 am]

Record Stores Fight to Be Long-Playing

NOW added to the endangered species list in New York City, along with independent booksellers and shoe repair: the neighborhood record store.

The hole-in-the-wall specialty shops that have long made Lower Manhattan a destination for a particular kind of shopper have never made a great deal of money. But in recent years they have been hit hard by the usual music-industry woes — piracy, downloading — as well as rising real estate prices, leading to the sad but familiar scene of the emptied store with a note taped to the door.

Some 3,100 record stores around the country have closed since 2003, according to the Almighty Institute of Music Retail, a market research firm. And that’s not just the big boxes like the 89 Tower Records outlets that closed at the end of 2006; nearly half were independent shops. In Manhattan and Brooklyn at least 80 stores have shut down in the last five years.

But the survivors aren’t giving up just yet. [...]

Yes, but then there’s this — an ambivalent message if I say so:

Casually dispensed expert knowledge like that is exactly what Record Store Day is looking to celebrate. [Regina] Spektor, who started off selling homemade CDs and is now signed to a major label, Sire, said that independent stores had been the first to carry her music, and that their support helped her career take off. And though she said she now feels contrite that for years her music collection was made up mainly of items copied from friends — “I just had no money” — she is supporting the stores out of gratitude.

“I’m the record label-slash-store nightmare,” Ms. Spektor said. “Everything I had was a mixtape or a burned CD. But I don’t like the idea of all the record stores where people actually know what they’re talking about going out of business. They have their own art form.”

See also this indication of changing times: Longtime Executive Steps Aside at Sony BMG

In a shake-up that reflects the new realities of the music business, the renowned hitmaker Clive Davis is making way for a younger executive known for having an ear toward the pop charts but also an eye on controlling costs.

[...] But the pop hits that Mr. Davis is known for delivering typically require the kind of expensive videos and marketing campaigns that labels are reluctant to finance at a time when music sales have been sliding. Sony BMG’s decision to promote Mr. Weiss underscores the idea that hits alone cannot save the industry.

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Reports on Yesterday’s FCC Hearing At Stanford U [10:59 am]

FCC wrangles over Net neutrality issue (pdf)

A divided Federal Communications Commission on Thursday grappled further with the thorny issue of how to relieve increasing online congestion, disagreeing sharply over whether government regulations are needed.

The five-member commission met at Stanford University during a seven-hour meeting delving into Net neutrality, the principle that all Internet traffic be treated equal.

Copps, Adelstein, Tate, McDowell Statements; Standford Internet & Society hearing info

From the Washington Post, we get Net Neutrality Hearing Hits Silicon Valley (pdf), which highlights the Christian Coalition’s take instead of Rick Carnes’ of the Songwriters’ Guild:

“The Internet connects people all over the world in a manner and scope of ease that is impossible if it were not online,” said Michelle Combs, vice president of the Christian Coalition, a proponent of rules that would force Internet providers to keep their networks open to content. “Organizations like the Christian Coalition should use the Internet to communicate with our members and worldwide audience without snooping or blocking or slowing down,” she said at the hearing at Stanford Law School.

Later: Larry Lessig posts his testimony as a video — and a quite heated discussion accompanies it.

Also note an earlier House Judiciary hearing: Hearing on Net Neutrality and Free Speech on the Internet.

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LATimes Recaps The Rowling v Lexicon Case [10:59 am]

With an unsurprising take: Rowling seeks to stop ‘The Harry Potter Lexicon’ from being published (pdf)

Now that the petty wrangling, emotional outbursts and mind-numbing duels over Latin words roots have ended, the federal judge in this week’s Harry Potter trial faces a daunting task: How do you balance an author’s right to protect her copyrighted novels with a publisher’s right to produce a new book that borrows heavily from these bestselling texts?

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